Lake Erie Monsters

First trip to Utica is a win for Monsters

By Doug Plagens, Special to WFNY

UTICA, NY- Three defenseman scored for the Lake Erie Monsters (10-7-0-1), who won 3-2 Tuesday night on the road over the Utica Comets (4-11-1-1).  Matt Hunwick’s goal in the final seconds of the second period- his first as a Monster- was the eventual game-winner, as the Monsters won their fourth straight road game.  Karl Stollery and Markus Lauridsen also scored for the Monsters.  Sami Aittokallio now has wins in consecutive starts for the Monsters, who have won their last two games.  The game marks the start of a three-game road trip for the Monsters, who are back in action Friday in Rochester.

Utica struck first when Brandon DeFazio sent a turnaround wrister past the Monsters Sami Aittokallio at 40 seconds of the opening frame, but the Monsters were quick to answer.  After holding the puck in the offensive zone, Karl Stollery netted a shot that beat Utica’s Joacim Eriksson top-shelf at 1:30 of the first period.  The unassisted goal was Stollery’s third of the season.

Markus Lauridsen’s first American Hockey League goal gave the Monsters a 2-1 lead at 12:43 of the first period, with an assist to Joey Hishon.  Lauridsen sent a wrist shot through traffic from the left point that fooled Eriksson to give the Monsters a lead that would hold through the end of the opening frame.

Utica tied the game at 9:57 of the second period on a power play when Henrik Tommernes netted a wrist shot from the top of the left circle, but again the Monsters had an answer.  With 8.6 seconds left in the second period, Matt Hunwick’s first goal of the season put the Monsters up 3-2.  Hunwick’s shot from the left circle went off the crossbar and in, and was assisted by J.T. Wyman and Bryan Lerg.

The third period yielded no scoring, as Aittokallio stopped all six Utica shots he saw in the final frame to preserve the Monsters second straight victory, and his second win in as many starts.

Aittokallio stopped 16 of 18 shots and improves to 5-2-0 on the season.  Eriksson is 4-9-2 after the loss; he stopped 23 of 26 Monsters shots.

NOTES: The Monsters are 2-1-0-0 against Utica… The game was the first for the Monsters in 11 straight against the North Division… Lerg’s assist gives him 17 points in 18 games this season… Hishon’s assist gives him four points over his last two games… The Monsters were 0-3 on the power play, while Utica was 1-2 with the man-advantage.

(Image via John Saraya/LEM)